Luxury travel will be crucial to global economic recovery, ILTM finds


Luxury travellers will prove vital in kickstarting the global economy following the coronavirus crisis, according to a new report from events network ILTM. 

The whitepaper, created by Barton Consulting for ILTM, highlights the importance of the luxury travel sector on global business and employment, and in particular the sector’s role in dispensing wealth through the world. It said luxury travel brands, agents and clients would be crucial in driving the economic recovery following the significant downturn caused by the ongoing crisis.

The report claims that the ‘Global Luxury Travel Universe’ is worth $2.05 trillion – highlighting why the recovery of this sector in particular will be so important to countries around the globe.

Speaking on a podcast released to the whitepaper, Winston Chesterfield, founder of Barton Consulting, said affluent travellers would be among the first to travel again because they have the “deepest pockets”. He said agents would be crucial to get their clients travelling again, too, which in turn will in turn benefit destinations and “enrich people who would otherwise be unemployed”.

He said: “Travel advisors will be interacting with some of the wealthiest travellers in the world. It stands to reason that the earlier adopters of the new world we enter after this are almost guaranteed to be those with the deepest pockets – those who are going to go out after this is over and say they need to go travelling and go around the world for business or leisure, or usually a combination of both for wealthy high-net worth individuals.”

Chesterfield said luxury travellers will be crucial to recovery purely because they will be less concerned about the long-term economic consequences caused by the virus.

“[Affluent travellers] are going to be the vanguard of the new travel world and they will take their wealth to all these destinations around the world that have been starved by this revenue.”

The report, called Luxury Travel’s True Impact on Business and Employment’ also shows that 105.9 million people are directly employed within tourism, with an additional 62 million employed through associated activities of the global luxury travel sector such as restaurant and bar staff. 

“The vast bulk of countries out there are simply not able aren’t able to shore up and provide protection for people working in these industries in the absence of travellers travelling and spreading their wealth about,” he said. “Small businesses are set to lose the most from this.”

He urged outsiders not to view luxury travellers as a group of people who want to stay in villas or private accommodation away from local communities. “These people put their money back into the economy they visit – and it’s a significant amount of money.”

Speaking about the report, Alison Gilmore, ILTM portfolio director, said: “We wanted to contribute to our industry and provide some new insight, facts and figures that we hope will give comfort to those who have suffered as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown of this industry.”

The report and accompanying podcast can be found here.


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